Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Ibn Hanbal sought to conjoin jurisprudence closely with the study of texts recording the teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibn Hanbal’s ideas and his example of steadfast resistance to political persecution inspired the formation of the fourth classical school of Islamic law.
Ahmad ibn Muhammad, who generally became known by the surname Ibn Hanbal, handed down from his grandfather, was descended from the Arab tribe of Banu Shayban, which had played a notable part in the conquest of Khorasan. The parents of Ahmad ibn Hanbal moved from Merv, on the northeastern frontiers of Iran, to Baghdad shortly before he was born in December, 780. His father, who had pursued a military career, died when Ahmad was about three years old; a small family estate, however, provided for many of his needs during his early years. Ahmad’s education centered particularly upon grammar and religious texts; he displayed a marked interest in accounts of the Prophet Muhammad and his mission. By 795, such concerns prompted him to commence a series of travels across Arabia, Yemen, and Syria; within Iraq he also visited Al-Kufa and Basra. Over a period of about eleven years, beginning at the age of twenty-three, he performed five pilgrimages to Mecca. During this time he became acquainted with a number of specialists on Islamic law and history; these contacts helped him to begin to define his own...
(The entire section is 2490 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!